Besides functional gear, sensible footwear and a guaranteed ride to gigs, members of good backing bands must have the following qualities: Humility, talent and personality. The best backing bands, of course, have all these qualities — and lots of success. Some of them of have played on countless hits. Some have played a role in music history. Others just have so much talent that they automatically move to the next level.
Last month, we examined the high-energy style of Cliff Gallup, whose innovative solos with rockabilly icons Gene Vincent & the Blue Caps set a new standard for sound, technique and imagination. This month, we’ll look at how Gallup explored the opposite end of the musical universe—romantic ballads—with an equally successful balance of skill and attitude.
This time around, I decided to grab my rapidly aging black Levi's shirt, my awesome new Levy's guitar strap and my Gibson Music City Jr. with B-Bender and show you three essential rockabilly licks. Bear in mind, I could've chosen three other essential rockabilly licks, but these seemed like nice ones to start out with. There's always next month.
Gene Vincent and the Blue Caps epitomized rockabilly’s iconic image, with their leather jackets, ducktail hairstyles and kick-ass-and-take-names personae. The band also introduced one of the most adept, versatile and influential electric guitarists of his generation: Cliff Gallup.
The past two years have been incredible for Imelda May. She sang on Jeff Beck's hugely successful Emotion & Commotion album, which was released in March 2010. Three months later, she performed two shows with Beck at the Iridium Jazz Club in New York City. The Iridium event was released on CD and DVD in 2011 as Rock 'n' Roll Party Honoring Les Paul.
When Les Paul passed away at the age of 94 on August 13, 2009, most obituaries overstated a few of his contributions and understated others. Some claimed he invented the electric guitar (he didn’t even invent the solidbody guitar, though he was among the first to experiment with its design) while barely mentioning his pioneering work in the development of multitrack recording. And while many articles mentioned his namesake Gibson Les Paul guitar, few discussed just how great a guitarist he was.